Citigroup upgraded shares of Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a report released on Wednesday morning, Marketbeat reports. Citigroup currently has $114.00 price target on the oil and gas company’s stock.

Other equities analysts also recently issued reports about the company. Macquarie restated a neutral rating on shares of Valero Energy in a report on Monday, October 23rd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Cowen restated a buy rating and issued a $90.00 price objective on shares of Valero Energy in a report on Friday, November 3rd. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a hold rating and issued a $98.00 target price on shares of Valero Energy in a research note on Monday, January 22nd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Valero Energy from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $87.00 target price for the company in a research note on Monday, October 23rd. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a buy rating and issued a $110.00 target price on shares of Valero Energy in a research note on Tuesday, January 30th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $90.12.

Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO) traded up $0.34 during trading on Wednesday, hitting $92.97. The stock had a trading volume of 640,031 shares, compared to its average volume of 3,508,634. The stock has a market cap of $40,530.00, a P/E ratio of 20.34, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.07 and a beta of 0.99. The company has a current ratio of 1.91, a quick ratio of 1.24 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39. Valero Energy has a 52 week low of $60.69 and a 52 week high of $99.95.

Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The oil and gas company reported $1.16 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.08 by $0.08. The company had revenue of $26.39 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $23.02 billion. Valero Energy had a return on equity of 16.72% and a net margin of 3.66%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 27.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.81 EPS. analysts expect that Valero Energy will post 7.19 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Valero Energy announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, January 23rd that allows the company to buyback $2.50 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the oil and gas company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, March 6th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, February 13th will be paid a dividend of $0.80 per share. This represents a $3.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.44%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, February 12th. This is a positive change from Valero Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.70. Valero Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 69.41%.

In other Valero Energy news, CFO Michael S. Ciskowski sold 251,530 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $93.29, for a total transaction of $23,465,233.70. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 309,119 shares in the company, valued at approximately $28,837,711.51. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Stephen M. Waters sold 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $87.23, for a total value of $87,230.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 298,187 shares of company stock valued at $27,611,828. 0.45% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of VLO. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership acquired a new stake in Valero Energy during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $1,342,000. Koch Industries Inc. grew its stake in Valero Energy by 4,447.1% during the 2nd quarter. Koch Industries Inc. now owns 209,077 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $206,000 after purchasing an additional 204,479 shares in the last quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC grew its stake in Valero Energy by 34.5% during the 2nd quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 5,220 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $352,000 after purchasing an additional 1,340 shares in the last quarter. Cetera Investment Advisers grew its stake in Valero Energy by 6.2% during the 2nd quarter. Cetera Investment Advisers now owns 4,525 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $304,000 after purchasing an additional 265 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Navellier & Associates Inc acquired a new stake in Valero Energy during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $422,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.03% of the company’s stock.

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Valero Energy Company Profile

Valero Energy Corporation (Valero) is an independent petroleum refiner and ethanol producer. The Company’s segments include refining, ethanol and Valero Energy Partners LP (VLP). The refining segment includes its refining operations and the associated marketing activities. The ethanol segment includes its ethanol operations and the associated marketing activities, and logistics assets that support its ethanol operations.

Analyst Recommendations for Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO)

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